Forget believing in fairies, The Ghost Tracks asks whether you believe in the paranormal. Do ghosts really exist? What about demonic possession? Join Erasmo and his friend Rat as they seek to find out for real, and get more than they bargained for…
There are scenes of violence, death, suicidal thoughts, drug use, and physical abuse. There is also an extremely disturbing scene of child abuse; it isn’t sexual, it is emotional abuse, and it will stay with you for a long time after reading this book.
The Ghost Tracks is one of those books where you sit down to write about it, and end up scratching your head. To try to put this book into words is difficult, because it’s not a book, it’s an experience from start to finish. It reminds me of the TV show Preacher, where so many random things are happening all at once, many of which are so outlandish that a voice in the back of your mind is saying to you that this doesn’t work, it shouldn’t work. Yet somehow the chaos and the mayhem does work. The utter ridiculousness of the situation, bordering on slapstick comedy with a dangerous edge of reality.
When Erasmo Cruz and his buddy Rat decide to become paranormal investigators, they expected the rude responses to their Craigslist ad. They even expected to get some weird ones. They thought they were prepared for everything, and of course, when you think that you couldn’t be further from the truth. I don’t want to give any spoilers, so I’m just going to say that Erasmo and Rat end up going down a dangerous rabbit hole that shows the darker side of their city.
For most of the novel, I thought I had found yet another magical realism novel parading as a paranormal (or fantasy) novel. Minor spoiler; The Ghost Tracks is the real deal. It’s one of those books that you need to stick with it all the way to the end, and you will not be disappointed. Along the way, Hurtado takes us on a journey of self-discovery that is unlike anything else you will find in a young adult novel. This isn’t a Bildungsroman because neither Erasmo nor Rat are children growing into young men; they have already been made to grow up too fast by events beyond their control.
These are two people who are trying to understand what has happened to them, and how they are supposed to deal with the hand they have been dealt in life. It’s something that people two/three times their age struggle with, and Hurtado doesn’t shy away from the issues. He faces it head on, and that is something that we need to see more of in young adult novels.
Over to you
Thank you for reading my review for The Ghost Tracks!
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